If the all-new A7 seems surprisingly familiar for a car recently overhauled from bumper to bumper, it should. Interestingly, the A7 shares many of the same features of the A8 we reviewed a few months ago, yet has a distinctly different purpose in life. The A8 uses some of the most advanced technology available to ease you around corners using an adaptive suspension and make potholes much less infuriating, in addition to a host of other creature comforts like front speakers that rise out of the dashboard. The Audi A7 is more focused on the thrill of driving. The intent here is luxury, speed, and a sporty drive for every condition.
First, a note about the styling. This sedan is roughly 55 inches tall, which you’ll notice right away. Like the Jaguar, the car looks longer than the A8 because of its low profile, but seating is actually a bit less spacious — especially in the back. Headroom for the driver is okay — fortunately, you can adjust the seat quite low. The sunroof, which normally lowers the overall cab space for tall drivers, actually adds some extra room as long as you keep the cover open.
Driving the 2012 Audi A7 is an experience every car lover should have at least once. The acceleration is not exactly like a sportscar — not too long ago, we drove the 2012 Ford Mustang 302 Boss and still remember the tire squeal. Yet, like most European sedans, you will appreciate the initial punch and the passing ability in third and fourth gear.
It’s a little astounding on the A7 — once you are up to about 60MPH on the highway — that there is still so much power available, even though the V6 engine has just over 300 horsepower and is not in the same league as, say, the Cadillac CTS-V. (Next week, we’re reviewing the new Camaro SS Convertible pony car that has over 400 horsepower.)
The engine whir on the A7 makes you appreciate the engineering that went into this new design, as the vehicle passes through the upper gears and you barely notice the automatic shifting. Of course, you can also use a manual shift mode, which is easy to access on the floor-mounted shifter. The A7 allows you to switch between drive modes, such as comfort and dynamic, to control whether the shifting is smooth or provides a bit more punch. The A7 model we tested is the supercharged version, which adds some quick acceleration — about 6 seconds going from 0 to 60.
The interior of our A7 looked luxurious but not over-stated. There’s a spider-web pattern on some panels that adds some extra flare, but we still prefer the cockpit of the Infiniti M37x in terms of overall styling.